The ADO .NET DataSet is the soul of ADO .NET. At first glance, it may seem as though the DataSet fills the same position in ADO .NET as the RecordSet did in ADO. Although the two objects seem similar, the DataSet is an entirely different kind of object. It is designed to read, store, and process XML data. So then what exactly is XML? We’ve been using the term rather freely, but we have yet to really explain what it is. You do not have to know XML per se to use ADO .NET. However, at this point in our adventure it would be a good idea to look at XML and exactly what it is.